Saturday, 10 April 2010

Water, water everywhere...

So, what fun we've been having with our basic municipal services.

First the local council decided to work on the water pipes. Either they didn't tell anyone, or the letter went to the house's owner, but for about a week we never knew from one moment to the next if we'd have water. Including all Easter weekend; and most of the Sunday we had none. When my aunt Janet was staying over and I was cooking big lunch. Woohoo :-/

Then, week before last, the power kept tripping every 5 minutes. At first I tried just switching it on again. I got so annoyed the third time it switched off my computer mid-work that I broke my earphones. Then I tried unplugging different things that are likely to consume a lot of power in case it was a case of overloading. Nope, still tripping. So I flicked down all the switches and tried putting them back one by one and lo and behold, good news everyone, it's the geyser (boiler, for all you Brits).

So started our hot water fun. First I (overly optimistically?) thought it had to do with the water situation. Then I worried we'd burned out the element by unknowingly using hot water and then the water got switched off so it couldn't refill. Then I thought it had something to do with the absolutely torrential rain we were having - maybe something was leaking. And by then it was Easter weekend. So my poor aunt had to contend with no hot water on her visit, either. In fact, I showered at hers when I picked her up and dropped her off just to not have to have a shallow lukewarm bath using the kettle and a few saucepans every day.

But, as we say in Afrikaans (or more accurately in Dutch), het einde niet. On Saturday night, we woke up to the gurgling sound of the toilet refilling and Steve said "do you think we should worry about any taps being open?". I assured him no-one would be that silly. Then, on Sunday morning, my aunt woke me up. She'd cleaned up a lot of it because she didn't want to wake me too early but the kitchen sink tap had been open and she'd woken up to a flooded house. RAAAAGE. The kitchen, dining room and living room were flooded; the kitchen drawers were FULL of water; everything in kitchen drawers and cupboards were soaking (including hte manuals and warrantees for all appliances). I am just thankful she was there, it was a really unpleasant morning's work to dry up, clean up and just not burst into tears. But, all's well that ends well (although, I guess it'll only really be over when we see the water bill!!).

Back to the hot water problem, I waited until after Easter so we wouldn't have to worry about whether the owner is going to pay for a plumber to come out over a long weekend. This week, I got hold of the owner (he lives outside SA so it's not always that easy) and he said yes by all means get a plumber. The plumber took one look at the ceiling space and said no thanks, I don't want anything to do with it. The geyser had burst and is still under warrantee but it's wedged in under a tin/zink/metal roof, between huge supporting beams, and is much larger than the ceiling access trap.

So I called the manufacturer; luckily they agreed to come out and on a Saturday morning no less. On the plumber's advice though we didn't want to have to open up the roof, we'd rather have them enlarge the ceiling trap and pay to have that fixed (otherwise, apparently, you always end up with leaks in the roof). Today the guys show up, and determine there's no way you can get the tank out from the beams even if you break through some of the ceiling. Their advice is, I'll have to get hold of the owner again; get his home owner's insurance details; get them to agree to come open and close the roof, and then try to arrange the insurers AND the geyser company to come at the same time (while both of us have full time jobs). I was at the end of my tether at this point and ready to go through life known as Ol' Smelly, when Steve remembered the plumber had mentioned to him it was just one place the geyser was leaking all over the electronics. Luckily the technician was a nice guy and had a think, and realised they could remove the faulty part from the new geyser they'd brought and just replace that.

End of a long story (sorry about the ranty essay): we have hot water for the first time in almost two weeks. WOOHOO!! Now, I suppose, I'd better go shower and wash the dishes!!

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